Cost of fighting Taylor Bridge Fire exceeds $6 million

Updated:

The cost of fighting the Taylor Bridge Fire stood at $6.4 million as of Sunday night, fire officials told KIRO 7 Eyewitness News.

Crews hope to fully contain a fire by Tuesday that has burned dozens of homes east of Cle Elum. The Taylor Bridge Fire has burned across more than 23,000 acres of grass sagebrush and timber, and about 1,000 firefighters are fighting the blaze.

Last Thursday’s firefighting efforts alone cost $1.4 million as more aircraft were brought in to suppress the flames, the DNR said. Officials said last week that they planned to use about eight choppers that cost about $5,000 to $6,000 per hour to run.

Currently, the Federal Emergency Management Agency is absorbing the costs. That will continue to be the case unless someone is found to be at fault, in which case the Department of Natural Resources and the U.S. Forest Service would seek damages.

An investigation into the cause of the fire has centered on a construction project at Taylor Bridge (hence the name of the fire) on Highway 10. That project is being run by Conway Construction, a Washington State Department of Transportation contractor.

Conway hasn’t been ruled at fault for the fire, the DNR said.

Nevertheless, WSDOT has advised those who have suffered losses in the fire to document those losses, contact their insurance companies and file a claim, and then contact Conway’s insurer, Travelers Insurance, at 206-464-5756.